Essex Theatre Company under a 'Godspell'

The cast of Godspell, performing at the Essex Theatre Company.

The cast of Godspell, performing at the Essex Theatre Company. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Essex Theatre Company opens its new season with Godspell, with the first curtain raising on Friday, July 6.

“This is a good, fun show,” director and choreographer Antonette Knoedl said. “It has a lot of basis on the Bible and the Book of Matthew, but what we have focused on is the story that is about forming a community that includes friendship, acceptance and love.

The show stars Andrew Murano as Jesus and Dana McLaughlin as John the Baptist/Judas. Other cast members are Elizabeth Abair, Jason Amrhien, Emma Helfgott, Meagan Juntunen, Natalie Kawecki, Peggy Orman, Sebastian Pray, and Matthew Rock.

“It’s an amazing play,” said Murano, a Plattsburgh State student who had no previous acting experience until trying out for a college production. “It has been amazing to be a part of it, and I don’t think that I have been this close with the cast members before.”

Knoedl said that the cast had worked hard and agreed that they had come together well.

“It was a short rehearsal process, but they have been doing great,” Knoedl said. “Everyone has pulled together really well. Everybody has been working like a professional.”

Music director Elizabeth Hill said that the tunes, while written in the 1970s, were timeless.

“They are songs that are really open to interpretation,” Hill said. “The people who have solos can really make them their own, and we have made some tweaks in the songs to keep things interesting.”

The opening for Godspell is Friday July 6, with the gala at 5 p.m. with show at 7 p.m. The gala features hors d’oeuvres, desserts, a silent auction and cash bar, as well as entertainment provided by Knoedl. Gala prices are $25 pre-paid and $30 at the door. Show-only opening night tickets are $15.

Other performances are Saturday, July 7, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, July 8, at 2 p.m.; Wednesday, July 11 at 5:30 p.m.; and July12 through 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets for other performances are $13 pre-paid, $15 at the door.

To receive the pre-paid rate, send a non-refundable check to Essex Theatre Company, P.O. Box 117, Essex; specifying the night, the number of tickets, and contact information. Pre-pay money must be received by ETC before the day of performance.

For more information or to book reservations, call 526-4520 or email tickets@essextheatre.org.

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